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18Apr2016 Pre-Market Commentary: Futures Fractionally Down, Crude Prices Returning To Mid $40's, Gold Sliding Up, Expect Volatility Today

Written by Gary

US stock future indexes are down fractionally mostly due to investors disappointed at the Doha OPEC ministers meeting outcome. Crude prices fell significantly but have returned to Friday's close. The markets are expected to open fractionally lower and volatility with the equities and oil markets is expected.

Here is the current market situation from CNN Money

European markets are lower today with shares in France off the most. The CAC 40 is down 0.41% while London's FTSE 100 is off 0.31% and Germany's DAX is lower by 0.17%.

What Is Moving the Markets

Here are the headlines moving the markets.

Morgan Stanley's profit falls by more than half as trading slumps

(Reuters) - Morgan Stanley's quarterly profit fell by more than half as the Wall Street bank's fixed-income trading and investment banking businesses took a hit from market volatility early in the year.

Stock futures down after talks on oil output freeze collapse

(Reuters) - U.S. stock index futures were lower on Monday as crude prices slipped after a much anticipated meeting of oil producers failed to result in a deal to freeze production.

PepsiCo benefits from cost cuts, strong North America snack sales

(Reuters) - PepsiCo Inc reported a better-than-expected quarterly profit as the company trimmed costs and demand rose in North America for its snacks, including Cheetos and Lay's chips.

Oil prices slide after freeze deal failure

LONDON (Reuters) - Oil prices slid on Monday after a meeting between major producing nations on a proposed output freeze fell apart, leaving the world grappling with an excess of unwanted crude.

Disney princesses, Star Wars propel Hasbro results

(Reuters) - Hasbro Inc , the No. 2 U.S. toymaker, reported better-than-expected quarterly profit and revenue, driven by strong demand for "Star Wars" action figures and the addition of Disney Princess dolls to its basket of toys.

Few signs of relief for troubled U.S. apparel retailers

SAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) - It's shaping up to be another tough year at the mall.

Global shares follow oil down after Doha disappointment

LONDON (Reuters) - A dive in oil prices sent stock markets lower on Monday after producers meeting in Qatar failed to agree on a plan to curb global supply, quashing the more optimistic tone that had prevailed for much of the past week.

EU's antitrust chief looking closely at Google's Android

AMSTERDAM (Reuters) - The European Union antitrust chief, who has already charged Google with favoring its own shopping service in internet searches, said on Monday that she was now examining its deals with phone makers and operators.

Trade in fake goods has worsened to almost half a trillion dollars: OECD

PARIS (Reuters) - Counterfeited and pirated goods accounted for up to 2.5 percent of world trade, or as much as $461 billion, significantly damaging companies and state coffers, the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) said on Monday.

Multiple Clinton Connections Emerge As More "Panama Papers" Names Revealed

There has been much confusion, at time quite angry, how in the aftermath of the Soros-funded Panama Papers revelations few, if any, prominent U.S. name emerged as a result of the biggest offshore tax leak in history. Now, thanks to McClatchy more U.S. names are finally being revealed and it will probably come as little surprise that many of the newly revealed names have connection to both Bill and Hillary Clinton.

As McClatchy writes, donors to Clinton foundation used the Panamanian law firm for offshores, adding that the connections come from the more than 40 years Bill and Hillary Clinton have spent in public life. Ironically this comes just days after Hillary criticized those exposed in the Panama Papers, accusing them of looking to hide their wealth.

As McClatchy reports, Hillary Clinton recently blasted the hidden financial dealings exposed in the Panama Papers, but she and her husband have multiple connections with people who have used the besieged law firm Mossack Fonseca to establish offshore entities.

Among them are Gabrielle Fialkoff, finance director for Hillary Clinton's first campaign for the U.S. Senate; Frank Giustra, a Canadian mining magnate who has traveled the globe with Bill Clinton; the

Russia Frustrated After Doha Breakdown: "How Can Iran Be The Reason For Failure When It Wasn't Even Here?"

After a fierce run of chaotic headlines leading up to the Doha meeting, where speculation of deal or no-deal was enough to make blood shoot out of your eyes, the results of the meeting are finally in.

As we learned earlier in the day, despite a leaked draft 24 hours earlier stating that there was in fact at least a gentlemen's agreement to freeze production at January levels, the talks broke down, oil futures crashed and crushed those who got long into the weekend, and all participants left the 12 hour session without agreeing on anything except that there is still a lot of work to be done if a deal is ever going to be reached.

Aside from setting up a lot of hedge funds for a bloody Monday morning, the breakdown in talks clearly frustrated Russia, who came out and blamed OPEC states for presenting demands on the morning of the talks in Doha and "undoing months of negotiations."

As Russia Today reports, Russian Energy Minister Alexander Novak spoke to Russian media following the conclusion of the talks, and it was evident he was very frustrated. Mr. Novak explained that the 11 OPEC states and seven outsiders present during the meeting had spent two months drafting an agreement that would cap oil production at January levels in an effort to stabilize oil prices, and it was all undone by the fact that Saudi Arabia, Qatar, UAE, and "predominantly other Gulf States" insisted that Iran be included in the deal (Iran did not attend the talks). The official was quoted as saying the following about the situation:


Frontrunning: April 18

Crude's Losses Drag Ruble, Loonie Lower; Stocks Pare Their Drop (BBG)

Grand Oil Bargain Is Victim of Saudi Arabia's Iran Fixation (BBG)

Both Parties' Presidential Front-Runners Increasingly Unpopular (WSJ)

It's up to you, New York: state takes center stage in election campaign (Reuters)

Rousseff Hangs by a Thread After Losing Impeachment Vote (BBG)

China March home prices rise at fastest rate in two years, top cities boom (Reuters)

Shaken Ecuador hunts for survivors amid 7.8 quake debris (Reuters)

Oil Worker Strike Cuts in Half Kuwait Crude Production (WSJ)

Greek lender mission chiefs resume reform talks in Athens (Reuters)

Greece's Creditors Weigh Extra Austerity Measures to Break Deadlock (WSJ)

Chinese Finance Minister Lou Jiwei Takes Aim at Donald Trump's Tr ...

Morgan Stanley Profit Plunges By More Than 50% As Trading Revenue Tumbles 40%

Moments ago Morgan Stanley became the fourth major US bank to report earnings which unlike its previously reporting peers, JPM, Wells and Citi, were far more simple to digest due to the lack of bank loan balance sheet arbitrage and reliance on Net Interest Margin. After all, after Goldman Sachs, Morgan Stanley is the closest to relying almost entirely on marginal trading revenue as well as its all important wealth management unit.

The results were quite ugly: total revenue of $7.8 billion barely changed from the previous quarter, and was down 21% from Q1 2015, however due to the sharp drop in consensus estimates in recent months, revenues was a "beat" to the $7.76 billion expected.

Earnings likewise were ugly, tumbling by 53% from $2.4 billion to $1.1 billion, or $0.55 per share. This too was a beat as a result of a sharp plunge in Q1 EPS expectations in recent months.

And while the bank's wealth management unit, which at March 31 had total client assets of $2 trillion, kept revenues flat, declining just 2% to $2.6 billion in Q1, it was the plunge in trading revenue which raised some eyebrows: plunging 43% from a year ago, the company reported just $2.1 billion in revenue from trading, while investment banking dropped a notable 18% to $1.1 billion in Q1. Hardly the results one would associate with stable growth.

The full breakdown of MS' income statement:

Oil's Anti-Freeze: The Saving Grace of a Stalemate

Exporters' failure to reach agreement in Doha is a blow to sentiment. But longer-term the market is still creaking in the right direction.

Biotech's Big Slowdown Doesn't Have to Last

Biotech's recent troubles have made valuations more reasonable, setting the stage for improved performance.

Ford: Riding High on China's SUV Boom

China's sport-utility-vehicle market is on a tear. Ford's wide range of SUVs should keep momentum going.

March 2016 Import Sea Container Count Collapse Questions State of Economy

Written by Steven Hansen

Last year there was a surge at the Los Angeles area ports as the port strike was resolved. But the dramatic fall in import counts for March - well below historical norms - raises economic questions. However, imports showed relative strength.

The Wall Street Journal: EU's antitrust probe into Google homes in on preloaded apps

Remarks from the EU competition chief Margrethe Vestager suggest that likely impending formal antitrust charges will center around the U.S. tech giant's demand that phone makers preload a folder of its own apps on Android handsets.

London Markets: FTSE 100 slips as Doha freeze talks falter

U.K. stocks drop on Monday, with resource companies leading the way lower after major oil producers fail to reach an agreement to curb oil production at a closely watched meeting in Doha, Qatar, at the weekend.

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